Indian squash ace Dipika Pallikal’s quest for her first PSA title of the year came to a heart-breaking end as she went down fighting in a close five-game final at the PSA $10, 000 Victorian Open in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday. The World No. 19, who was the top seed at this tournament, lost 11-6, 4-11, 11-3, 7-11, 9-11 to the second seed Millie Tomlinson of England in 80 minutes.
The 24-year-old looked poised to win her first international title since capturing the Winnipeg Winter Club Open in February last year when she took a two-games-to-one lead. The former World No. 10 had a huge lead even in the deciding game when she surged ahead 5-0 over the World No. 44.
But the Englishwoman made a fantastic comeback to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as she won 11 of the next 15 points to take the title.
Pallikal had begun her new season with a confidence-boosting title win at the National Squash Championships where she defeated the 14-time winner Joshna Chinappa in the final.
Next up: The Australian Open
Apart from her, Harinderpal Sandhu and Kush Kumar too put up a commendable effort at the Victorian Open this past week. Both of them made it to the semi-finals before being stopped by the top two seeds. All three of the Indians now turn their attention to the PSA 15, 000 Australian Open, the main draw of which starts on Monday.
Meanwhile, the English squash contingent had double delight at the Victorian Open as the top seed Joe Lee was crowned the champion after the second-seeded Australian Rex Hedrick had to retire due to injury mid-way through the match.